Thursday, April 08, 2010

I Hate The War

Friday and Saturday, Moqtada al-Sadr's party held a vote (open to all, not just members of his political party). Voters were presented with a list of five name and a space to write in a sixth and they were to indicate who they wanted to be prime minister of Iraq. They selected Ibrahim al-Jaafari who was Iraq's first prime minister after the US invaded in 2003. Ayad Allawi was the next prime minister. And, following the December 2005 vote, al-Jaafari was selected to be the prime minister again; however, the US said "NO." Nouri al-Maliki, whom no one wanted, was the US choice and he became prime minister in the spring of 2006.

After al-Jaafari, the next biggest vote getter was Jaafar Muhammad al-Sadr (Moqtada's cousin). The two men considered 'winners' because their political slates did well in the March 7th election did not do well in al-Sadr's poll. Ayad Allawi's political slate received more seats in the Parliament (91) than Nouri al-Maliki's slate (89). al-Sadr loathes Nouri al-Maliki as does his political party -- due to the assaults on Basra and Sadr City by forces Nouri commanded. His poll may have been a way for him to have cover not to back al-Maliki.

Ben Lando (Wall St. Journal) reports that al-Sadr's political party has announced the politician they are backing for prime minister: Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Lando notes:

It is unclear, however, how far Mr. Jaafari's political fortunes will actually rise. Allies of Mr. Maliki and Mr. Allawi dismissed the Sadrist move as another gambit in the group's strategy to maximize leverage in the negotiations.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Sadrists, Salah al-Obeidi, also said it is too early to consider Mr. Jafaari as a shoo-in for the nation's top job. He said he expects negotiations with possible coalition partners will include debates on Cabinet portfolios and other issues.
So far, the two most popular parties have had trouble securing the Sadrists' loyalty due to the two leaders' bad blood with the fiery cleric, whose party militia, the Mehdi Army, contributed to the sectarian bloodshed spilled in Iraq's recent past.

It may be a gambit on the part of al-Sadr, it may be for real. But it does send the message to Iraqis. That message is not, "Look at me." That message is: "The occupiers denied us al-Jafaari in 2006. We're still fighting for him, we're still fighting the occupation and we're still standing."

If it's a gambit, pushing al-Sadr's cousin or al-Sadr himself for the job may be the ultimate dream. Whether that's a realistic goal or not would be determined by how Iraqis respond to the message that's being sent.

But we don't hear much from the Iraqis. Due to WikiLeaks this week, Iraq is in the news. Kind-of. Sort-of.

It's easy to mistake the WikiLeaks coverage for being about Iraq. But, as noted in the snapshot, Nouri's ordering raids in Baghdad, house to house. And where's the press? Three US service members have died in Iraq this week. And where's the press? Ideas are being floated, deals are being proffered. And where's the press?

Tuesday bombings slammed Baghdad and at least 50 people were killed and another 200 injured. And there's no need to ask where the press is/was because we saw it (check the Wednesday snapshot and, for more of what they did cover, see "Can you learn much from the TV?"). ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams offered it as a headline -- despite the fact that this was the latest in a wave of violence which had claimed over 100 lives since Friday -- while the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric (Couric had the night off) elected to not even mention as a headline. WikiLeaks' release of the US military video is news and it's worth covering; however, don't mistake that for actual Iraq coverage of events on the ground today.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4387. Tonight? 4390.

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